Friday, June 10, 2011

Attempting to go Swimming

Today we attempted to take the upper elementary to the swimming pool for their 3rd lesson.

We arrived at the sports center to learn that the pool was closed. Why? Because there is no hot water. I was confused--so? The pool water was fine, but there was no hot water for showers, and so they'd closed the entire pool.


Luckily, the PE teacher had the presence of mind to call the principal and ask permission to just take the kids to the park. We had 40 kids with us, in swimsuits and standing in the hot sun, most of them fully expecting to have fun, all of them expecting to be out of class for the afternoon. We couldn't just take them back to school and go to class.

Another teacher there remembered seeing a large fountain near the Pyramid, and we caravanned to the Highvill apartments, which are located near the American Embassy and the Pyramid.

We parked across from the apartments and trekked through the large park until we found the fountain.

The word 'fountain' doesn't do it justice. It's more like a wading pool and fountain combination. It's very large, but the water never got over my knees. And lots of fountains and sprinklers shooting off water into the pool/fountain.

The kids really enjoyed this. The water was murky, the ground underneath it was slippery and mossy, and so no teacher was trying to get anyone to put their head underwater, or to do a back float or a breast stroke. It was just pure fun, splashing about in water on a hot summer day.

We only had about thirty minutes, but it was a blast.

Later that evening, the PE teacher and I went back to the fountain with our kids. We stayed for about an hour, maybe more, even though by now the air was much cooler.

The fountain is directly in between the Presidential Palace (aka White House) and the Pyramid, and the sun was beginning to set behind the White House. (Astana's new downtown is set in an east-west direction, with the Pyramid in the east, a a bunch of other landmarks in a straight line between it and Khan Shatyr in the west.)

A "stream" broke off from the large fountain-pool and led towards the river. We waded this way--it looked as though we could wade right up to the White House, although of course we couldn't.

It was a very fun evening and definitely a place worth coming back to on a hot day!

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